Johnny Depp Could Face Prison For Bringing Dogs to Australia

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 26, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp may face prison time for violating Australia's animal quarantine law.

Johnny Depp got into hot water earlier this month for bringing his two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia. The actor and flight crew did not declare the puppies to customs or have the required permits.

Authorities found out about the dogs after a local groomer posted about Depp's doggies on social media.

Get Out!

The movie star did not get any special treatment from Australian authorities. When the authorities discovered that the dogs had entered the country illegally, Australia's Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce gave Depp 48 hours to have the dogs sent back to the United States, or they would be euthanized.

Depp quickly sent the pups back within the 48 hour limit. However, the story isn't over. An Australian Senate Committee hearing actually devoted time to the issue and declared that Depp could face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of $ 265,000 U.S. Depp's airplane pilots who flew the dogs into Australia could also face up to two years in prison.

Reports do not state whether or not Depp has been charged with a crime yet.

Australia's Quarantine Laws

Australia vigorously guards its status as a rabies free country. As such, the country imposes a lot of requirements before you can bring a pet into the country. To enter Australia, pets must have: a pet microchip, an import permit, rabies vaccination within one year of entry, blood titer test at least 180 days before entry, a veterinary health certificate signed within 72 hours of entry, treatments for internal and external parasites within 5 days of entry, and a 10 day quarantine after entering the country.

Other Country's Animal Quarantine Laws

Most other countries also have some kind of rabies vaccination requirement or quarantine law.

United States

The United States requires dogs to have rabies vaccinations before entering the country. However, the same requirement does not apply to cats. More specifically, animals entering Hawaii, even from mainland U.S., must comply with quarantine requirements.


Barbados has an even stricter quarantine rule. Dogs and cats can only be imported from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Jamaica, and a few other countries. Animals from other countries must first be quarantined in the United Kingdom for six months before they can enter Barbados.


China's one child rule apparently also applies to animals. Travelers can only bring one dog or cat into the country.

If you're traveling with a cat or dog, be sure to check with the destination country's quarantine laws before you find yourself in the same precarious position as Mr. Depp.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard